Lunes, Nobyembre 21, 2011

Blowing Kisses and Making Wishes

Writing this on a bus on the way to the boat that will take me to the beach. (More on that on the next post.) Aside from the cameos and the brief domestic dispute, the past couple of weeks have been mostly an exhibition of how my life revolves around the relatively tiny office I work in now. I've decided to take a break from doing comedy and other shit, since my mind has been riddled by questions of the future.

The office, all on its own, has presented a myriad of experiences that would make for a rather passable screenplay, as my comparison of the office towards school has been surprisingly accurate. I have yet to meet a single completely balanced person in that place, and that's exactly how I like my work place.

Starting November Right. When November 1 rolled around, I was at the office still working at an unusually slow pace. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I've gone on record to mention that it's my Christmas. So despite the fact that I was in a workplace that I liked a lot, I was still bummed about the whole missing out on Halloween thing. It was a good thing I wasn't the only one, as three other regular night toilers decided to drop everything and go out drinking. So there I was, on Halloween, in a bar that I know so well, surrounded by waiters and waitresses in costume, and I was happy. So happy that I could sing. And I did… on stage, alongside with a teammate who, over the past couple of weeks, I've gotten to know and learned I like a lot.

As egotistical as it may sound, he reminds me of me when I was his age. Young, living alone, putting on the happy face while glimpses of a level of despair and even anger shine through from time to time. My first impulse when I sensed this parallelism was to speak to him, share my own experiences and shit like that, but if I'm accurate in my assumption about him, he wouldn't have any of it. Hell, I wouldn't have any part of that when I was his age. I could write a fucking book on the stupid advice I've gotten from people over the years. Words of optimism from people who've never had problems, financial and career advice from people who were born with everything handed to them, relationship advice from people who've either had exclusively shitty relationships or no relationships at all, all that bugged the living hell out of me back then (and even as recently as six months ago)because of how similar I think me and this brash young man may be, I know on good authority that the best thing to do is to just be there. That's what people like him and me really need, people just being there.

Fire! Unbeknownst to me at the time, the day after Halloween, I nearly died. Someone left a candle burning while I slept, alone in my, I guess, new Fortress. It was outside the house, and it was big enough that the neighbors had to call certain relatives to put it out. elite my keen observation skills, all of this went unnoticed. I woke up, showered, got dressed and went to work. I found out the day later.

Fuck. Dying ahead of schedule would be a real bummer.

The Breakfast Club. Aside from the young me, I've gotten to know the rest of the team, who seem to have made team breakfasts their own signature move. There's an interesting dichotomy here, and in my humble opinion, I'm fortunate to be a part of the only team in the company that actually looks like a team. Most of everyone gets along in a manner wherein there's a level of honesty there that transcends professional relationships. I'd like to think of them as friends, though I'm sure there's still quite a ways to go before the whole friends thing comes into fruition. I, for one, am willing to wait for that day.

The Audition and the Reunion. Since that little epiphany from the fire-gone-unnoticed, I went and answered a casting call for a thesis film despite the fact that I haven't slept yet that weekend; it's hella faraway; and I don't like doing student projects. (It was alright when I was a student too, but I think hanging out with college kids and not as their teacher at this point of my life is a tad wasteful.) Still, no day but today, right? So I went, got lost, finally found the place, only to discover that they were students of a teacher I thoroughly hated back in college. Hence, the logical solution was obvious: audition while drunk.

After the audition, I wanted to unwind, and since I was in the Island Girl's neck of the woods, we hung out. We finally got to talk about some of the things from the past in greater detail, and it does feel good to have certain things out in the open like that. I still wanted to talk about the other effects of what happened, effects that I never really told anyone, effects that manifested itself in following relationships. But, there will be a time and place for that, I guess.

Still, all's good from where I sit.

Erin and I. Oh, I told the office crush that she was the office crush. You know, fire and all. For details of her feedback, watch that scene from Empire Strikes Back, before Han gets frozen in carbonate.

Domestic Problems. For almost every week, I've been given a reason to regret the fact that I did what my mother wanted and moved into her old house. First there was the haircut inducing inanity, then there's that fire I mentioned. A week passes and lo and behold, I get the privilege to watch some unnecessary drama unfold at 9 in the morning, after I've had a mere two and a half hours of sleep. Seriously, this is the exact same bullshit that made me move out repeatedly for years. How bad was it? Well, it was so bad that I, the guy who never shows up for work before lunch time, got up, showered, got dressed, and headed to the office as fast as I could. By 10:30 AM, people were already asking what was wrong with me.

Most people would say that the mature thing to do is to be understanding and be the bigger person and to remember that these things normally happen. The thing is, another mature thing to do is to point out how much of a waste of time bitching to each other truly is. I swear, a couple more episodes of this, and I'm packing my bags again.

Here Comes Trouble. I think people in the office aren't used to be being in such a foul mood, as a number of people actually checked on how I was doing. It was a bit strange, what with me being used to dealing with shit alone, but it was definitely welcome. Some people even took it to a higher level by, at my behest, got smashed with me that night. I won't name names and provide details, but let's just say that it was so bad, we got an e-mail from the boss that threatened action in the event that our little adventure gets in the way of work.

It was exactly what I needed.

Pool party! Come weekend, another office-mate, part of the Life Coach's sorority had a birthday party and of course, I went, since spending 90% of the week with these people doesn't seem to be enough time together. Seriously though, it was fun. Me and younger me had a sing off wherein the loser wears booty shorts at the office, and of course, there were drinks, more moments with the Life Coach and that dude she's dating, and a bunch of other people at the office and a few who I didn't know.

It was refreshing, and it made me realize that even though my world has extremely narrowed down to just this one sphere, I don't I mind. Not yet at least. I've been moving around constantly for so long, meeting up with one group after the other from day to day, that it's good to have some sense of stability.

Plus, you know, free booze.

The Future. While of that has been going on, I've been dealing with what I was going to do regarding the mother and her boyfriend's company, and the offer (the request actually) to run it. After two weeks of deliberation, I finally sent an e-mail reply that consisted of four words: "Okay, I'll do it."

So now, what with the heart thingy feeling like it's getting worse, and the growing frustration I have on the domestic front, and my thoughts about cutting ties with people from the past (I'll get into the details about that once it seems necessary) I might have to leave the one aspect of my life that resembles anything normal to do… that. See, while the irony of the prodigal son becoming heir apparent is not lost on me, and there's nothing I hate more than carrying on someone else's work, with the way that the job was offered to me, there really wasn't any choice in the matter. (Another fact that's pissing me off.) It seems like ti was a planned thing, from getting me to come home and then this. Still, I already said yes, and I think I have two to six months to prepare anyways, so I'll cross (or burn) that bridge when necessary.

God, I feel like one of those jackass kids from my generation who I've been secretly criticizing over the years for just waiting for their parent's hand me downs. Hah.

Biyernes, Nobyembre 4, 2011

The Rest of October

I was back from my little quest (or as I like to call it, the vacation I wanted and everyone else paid for) and returned to a somewhat normal, delightfully dull life. It didn't last long, of course, but any amount of pleasantry is something I am always willing to savor. This post chronicles the past three weeks in which, good, bad or so-so, felt like a preview of the next year, and gave a rather appropriate image of how this one ends.

There are four walls around me for the majority of my present existence, and this time, I'm not complaining. Even though at times, those walls seem to be caving in.

Cooldown Period. Like I said, I returned my delightfully dull life at the Think Tank. It's become similar to school in many ways, but not the same way the Evil Empire did. It's more like college. The company has a roster of employees that reaches up to nearly a hundred people, and everyone's got their own little clique and trapped in their respective little worlds, and I'm in a unique position wherein I get to peek in those worlds.

There's the Life Coach and her sorority, then there's the people I smoke with, the bosses, the "freshmen", and the team that I belong to. In the span of an average day, I get to spend an adequate amount of time with each, and I hear about their history, in and out of the office.

For most of the first week of my return, I've done nothing but reacclimatize myself with the folks in the office and the job itself, and much like the majority of my college life, I've been fed with some very interesting material. while their stories are not as larger than life like the people from Purgatory, I'm finding the Think Tank to be Purgatory-lite. I mean that as a compliment. I've gone from being content in the office to actually enjoying the involvement.

The Return of the Absentee Scooby. On a day that I was supposed to do stand up, work, and meet up with Jo F'n Regis for a potential project, I decided to stay home due to my rapidly beating heart. (Despite the drastic change in lifestyle, the condition seems to be getting worse.) However, if there was thing that could make me get out of bed, travel and attempt to do the probably impossible and definitely stupid thing, it's a text from a Scooby. Particularly one from Nats, one of the people I've had the privilege (ha!) of serving as best man and one of the rarest Scoobies to get a hold of (they're like Pokemons).

So I dropped the open mic night, went to work, stared at my own personal Erin Hannon for a few moments, rescheduled the meeting with Jo F'n Regis and went to Nats' rather impromptu birthday party. Walking around with Jo alone would have made for a nice night, but drinking with him and Nats, and watching Nats getting verbally undressed by his wife (who seems to never run out of excuses to get pissed off at her hubby, and never passes up an opportunity to express that emotion) was just an amazing way to spend a Thursday night and risk a heart attack. (My life sounds so empty with that last statement, don't you think?)

A Productive Forty Minutes. An amazing thing happened on my way to work on a Friday afternoon. There I was, a week out of HK and stuck with one job (more on that later) and looking for a new project to sink my teeth into. Who do I see riding in the van that I had to take to go to work? The Uber-geek, the same guy that I've been bugging for a sit-down for the many short film ideas that I've been dying to do. And given his recent parting of ways with his band (who are set to go mainstream, which didn't sit well with a true indy artist like ol' Uber) I was banking on him being creatively hungry enough to join me in my lame projects.

After I logging in at the office I went off to have a little impromptu meeting, and the Uber Geek is on board. There have been certain causes for delay of our project, but it's good to know that soon, I get to do something new yet familiar. Stay tuned, folks. The Coffeehouse opens once more.

Southern Think Tank Birthday Party. I managed to drink somewhere a little closer to home the day after, as a former Think Tanker invited me, my Life Coach, and another colleague to her birthday bash. (I was surprised I was invited, though. I was under the impression that I was only there to accompany the aforementioned colleague as she was unfamiliar with the territory.)

It was good to drink in my neck of the woods with new people, though. It's something i haven't done in a long time. It's usually the blah type of drinking at the Big Man's house (the new one), or in one of the strip clubs they'd frequent, or some gathering with the Tapa King an his other retard friends (Don't get me wrong, that shit is fun, but you know, it does get old.)

It was a nice night. Learned a couple of new things and shit like that.

An Appearance in Makati. There were several days of quiet after that birthday bash as I gravitated towards spending my days at the office, listening to people tell me their tales, glancing at my Erin Hannon in moments wherein I was in need of inspiration, chain smoking, the usual shit I do these days. Of course, for at least once a week (or at least, as often as I can), I do take a break and go do that stand up comedy thing I love to do so much.

The trip to the bar (Bowler Restaurant, to be exact) in itself was an amazing treat. I haven't been to Makati (a city a have more than a few stories in) in what seems to be ages, and I ha an opportunity to take a long, lone walk on those familiar streets. It's been a year or so since I last stood at that smoking area which, I gleaned on that day, to be the epicenter of my personal history. No other specific spot in the world has bore witness to as many significant moments in my life, and even it's location is like a diagram of my adult life. Right across was the building in which I worked the phones part time in an attempt to bring the Island Girl back from exile, and where I met the Part Timers, of course. Adjacent to it was the hotel for which I also worked the phones for, months before becoming a teacher, a time wherein my days were just hazy alcoholic montages. Behind me would be the cinemas where B and I would see a movie almost every weekend before I made my presence known at the Grill. I sat on the same table wherein Jo F'n Regis and I welcomed the new year. Downstairs were the doors that welcomed Ol' Football Head and I for our numerous "bro dates".

All those Friday nights, those Saturday mornings, those rainy weekdays, they all came rushing back. To my left was 1998. To my right was 2006. It was 2004-2005 behind me. It was 2009 in front of me. And I was standing in a time warp.

Had a few beers at the Grill to put a period on the statement that ledge made.

As I was walking, I received another pleasant surprise. There was a security guard who went over (he literally left his post and approached me) and shook my hand, saying he saw me on TV a few months back and he loved my set. I didn't know whether to be proud of what i did, or feel sorry for the dude, whose fondest memory of television is that shitty two minute set back June. Still, I was polite, and I was happy that there was at least one person, aside from the people in my life and my nosy neighbors, who saw the thing and liked it.

Too bad the audience at Bowler were not appreciative. Ahh, fuck 'em. I had a good day in Makati.

A Day for Office Romance (Sorta). I pulled an all nighter on a Friday night, and come Saturday morning, The Life Coach asked me to join her and her boy for breakfast. I was happy that her boy's and my definition of breakfast were quite similar. The drinks were flowing and I sat there in the company of people in love. I'm not a hundred percent sure, But I think I was witness to the first time she said the words "I love you" to the dude.

Ugh. People can be really goofy sometimes. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

So, home I went, slept until 10 PM and I was awoken by a phone call from another colleague, this time a teammate, to join him,two lady colleagues, and another dude from the team to another drinking session. Apparently, the other dude ditched a frat party just so he ca join us cause one of the girls there was someone he was planning to pursue. It was nice, and very funny, to see him try his best and score a date that night. I'm a big fan of uphill climbs, and the dude's efforts seemed sincere, so I'm on his side.

Yup. The office is full of lovesick morons. I ain't saying I'm not one of them. I'm just pointing it out.

The 2009 Remix. The whole three weeks were mostly me in the office or out with office folk, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any adventures from my boys in the old gang, particularly since I made a personal promise to somehow patch things up with the Critic. So, a bag of the fun stuff in hand I went to the Critic's new pad after work for a little male bonding. He bought beers and we both just et our respective consciousness drift as we talked about this and that.

The Big Man, for reasons I can't recall, showed up. Being under the influence as we were, we did the math. We had just imbibed tremendous amounts of beer with that little euphoric kick we loved so much, and then the Big Man, a guy with a car, shows up. How can we not go to Tagaytay?

So the Big Man drove, the Critic and continued killing a few more brain cells, and then we were stopped by some cops. I twas a holy shit moment, indeed. But, nothing happened, as we were just extra paranoid and the cops were just pointing towards a detour.

Tagaytay happened, I ate a sinful amount of food, The Critic threw up his and passed out and the Big Man drove as the sun went up.

It was… serene.

Think Tank in Tagaytay. A couple of days later, I come back to Ortigas with my Think Tank teammates. We had worked all night (more or less) and we had promised ourselves a nice breakfast so we could bond and hopefully come out of it a more cohesive unit. I think it worked. We were insulting people in chorus by the time breakfast was done.

An Ending of sorts in Ortigas. Straight from Tagaytay, I headed on to Ortigas to meet with someone who's presence, perhaps, had the biggest influence in my life.The Island Girl has come back, and she and I met for an evening in Ortigas. We did the usual casual stuff. Saw a movie at Megamall, talked at the smoking area at Shang, had a couple of beers and walked around a bit. It was… casual. Friendly even. I was something I didn't expect to happen in my lifetime, considering all the drama she and I had gone through, but she's cool now, and I'm cool now (relatively) so I guess that was closure.

It was amazing though, seeing her again after a year or so without any drama hanging overhead. Maybe now I can work on regaining some of the things I lost during that year.

Halloween Party! This year, I not just attended a company party, I fucking hosted one. and not just so I could get the attention of that girl I like in the office. (Though that was mostly it. I fucking hate company activities. I only attended one prior to this, and I only did so cause it was a Christmas thingy and I had to give some douche his gift.) I attended because finally, I'm in a company that celebrates my favorite holiday.

And they take that shit seriously, too. The costumes were amazing and the candy… god damn. Fuck Christmas!

But yeah, I did it to get a girl's attention. I'm apparently not too old for this shit.

A Recap of the Bad Shit. One interesting thing about hosting the Halloween party are the events that led up to it. The entire day, my heart was doing that thing it does that normally would lead me to lie down all day. But, the show had to go on. Minutes before the thing started, I received two emails. One, a work related one wherein I apparently failed another one of those evaluation things would then drastically change how I do work in the office. (No more weekend crunches, basically.) The other, technically also work related, but was cryptic and all that regarding my family and destiny and all that Obi Wan Kenobi bullshit. None of it helped my condition. The heart is definitely getting worse.

But, the thing the family got cleared up on the weekend, where everything made sense. The move back to Cavite, the mother joining me in Hong Kong, her boyfriend acting all chummy and all that. Apparently, I'm being groomed to take the big chair on the family business, so the old lady can retire. I received a speech about being my own boss and blah, ballad, blah. They want me run the business. Fuck, I even have trouble making rent. But I said yeah, as certain possibilities suddenly presented themselves.

On another business related note, one thing that's been bugging me since I got back from Hong Kong was the status of the Big Man's little project. Before I left, we had an agreement on my role in the company and how the guy who owns the place already greenly it and it was already a go. The moment the plane touched down and I was back home, I was ready to get cracking, only to find out days later that, and this all comes from the BIg Man's text messages, that his operation has folded was being merged with another group. He asked if I was still board, and I said yes, but to the new position that was agreed upon. (I had already made other commitments once I got the verbal signal that it was a go, and while that may be uncharacteristic, I know that their industry lives and dies on gentlemen's agreements.) So, I can't go back to doing the old thing, as I was doing the new thing even though I was designated to the old thing. All I got was a suggestion that I don't pursue it, cause the guy who owns the whole thing might do to me what was done to him (the whole sugar coated demotion thing). Huh. I smell bullshit.

So, much like the Life Coach, (who's got a budding new romance and a new job) I, too am working with a clean slate. A relatively new group of people to work with, old friends nearly non-existent, some old grudges buried and some new grudges being started, new shit beginning to unfold. It's not exactly the kind circumstances I'd ideally ask for, but what the hell.